2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Parents

My first paid writing job was for The Parenting Post, official blog of Parenting Magazine [1. No longer active.]. You’ll find an archive of my posts here. I no longer write about the kids online, but they do still exist. With almost a decade of parenting in my rear view mirror, I’m still a newcomer but I’ve learned a thing or two as well. Here is a list of gifts that will delight parents of young kids. With a geek twist, of course.


I’m a bit out of the newborn game, but here is a pair of items we couldn’t have done without.

1. The Miracle Blanket. Both of my kids liked being wrapped up like little burritos. Unfortunately, they’d often flail themselves loose and then start screeching. The Miracle Blanket was the answer. It’s clever flaps and folding method kept both kids wrapped up tight. In fact, my kids would stop crying as soon as the saw the thing. Some babies don’t like to be wrapped up, but if yours does, try this out. $24.95

2. Baby Bjorn. It’s hard to get things done with Jr. attached to your hip. The Bjorn let’s you wear you kid as a shirt. With your hands free, you can go about your business. Plus, my kids seemed to enjoy the view. About $60.


1. Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer I love this thing for one simple reason: it allows you to take a sleeping child’s temperature without waking her. Slip quietly into her room, place it gently on her temple, press the button and presto. You’ve got it. Anyone who’s nursed a feverish child overnight knows: once they’re asleep, don’t wake them back up! $32.

2. Bumbo floor seat [1. Apparently these have been getting recalled after a few tipped over w/Jr. inside. I wasn’t aware of that, as I haven’t used one in almost 10 years. Also, you’re smart enough not to put Jr. up on a table in one of these things, right? Note I suggest playing w/him while he’s in it on the floor. Still, recalls happen for a reason. Perhaps avoid this one.]. We got a lot of mileage out of this thing. It’s great for when Jr. is just starting to sit upright. Get down on the floor, put him in the Bumbo and have some fun. About $40. Update: See footnote!

3. Boppy Pillow. The Boppy is a great multi-tasker. You’ll use it for feeding, playing, propping, lying down and holding still while changing diapers. Just get a few extra machine-washable slip covers. Around $30.

Older Kids

Now it gets fun. No more pillows and thermometers.

1. Unbored: The Official Field Guide to Serious Fun. The kids and I have been having so much fun with this book. It’s full of projects, games and ideas that will keep you and your little makers engaged and, more importantly, playing and having fun together. From throwies to A-frame lean-to’s and everything in between. Both of my kids routinely ask, “Can we make something from ‘the book‘?” About $15.

2. The Dangerous Book for Boys. Similar to Unbored, adds things like stories boys should know, facts about the states and more. Early copies shipped with Boy Scout-style “merit badges.” You can find some on Ebay, though they’re pricey. The book can be had for about $10.

3. The Daring Book for Girls. Just like the former, but for girls. About $10.

4. Egg Helmets sports helmets. Seriously, how cool are these?  Kids can customize these helmets with graphics and an add-on, like a mohawk, a crown or a stem. If there’s a kid on your list who resist wearing his bike helmet or skate helmet, this will most likely change his mind. Starting at €69.00.

5. Makey Makey. Build a piano from bananas or a game controller from Play-Doh. How about a beach ball as a computer mouse? It’s all possible with this awesome little kit. The Makey Makey acts as a little circuit board that allows kids to create all kind of fun inventions. $49.95.

There you have it, several gifts for parents and kids. They’re all great choices. Good luck shopping, and check back Friday for another gift guide post: gifts for geeks.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon. This means I receive a commission if you follow an Amazon link on this site and then make a purchase. My credibility is extremely important to me, therefore I only endorse products I have personally purchased and used. This site is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.